Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 55.58
Liaison Stephen Ellis
Submission Date April 26, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Boston University
AC-9: Academic Research

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 7.90 / 12.00 Dennis Carlberg
Associate Vice President for University Sustainability
BU Sustainability
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Number of the institution’s faculty and/or staff engaged in sustainability research:

Total number of the institution’s faculty and/or staff engaged in research:

Number of academic departments (or the equivalent) that include at least one faculty or staff member that conducts sustainability research:

The total number of academic departments (or the equivalent) that conduct research:

A copy of the sustainability research inventory that includes the names and department affiliations of faculty and staff engaged in sustainability research:
Names and department affiliations of faculty and staff engaged in sustainability research:

Please see the attached inventory.

A brief description of the methodology the institution followed to complete the research inventory:

The sustainability research inventory was developed through a collaboration with Institutional Research, the BU Research office and BU Libraries. The Library Liaison group met with sustainability@BU in July of 2016 to discuss the definition of sustainability in relation to the Earth Charter, what types of research archives are available to the campus community, and how to robustly collect information in order to better capture what projects researchers are engaging in within BU. A key word list based on sustainability related principles was then generated in order to better guide data capturing. Through a continued partnership with Kenneth Liss, Head of Liaison & Instruction for the University’s libraries, a final list of researchers and their projects was generated. The list attached contains information on research drawn from databases such as Web of Science, Primo Central Index (accessed via BU Library Search), and OpenBU (dissertations and theses). It lists 270 names from 55 departments and programs. The information reported represents data on funded research projects from FY15 and FY16.

A brief description of notable accomplishments during the previous three years by faculty and/or staff engaged in sustainability research:

Professor Bruce Anderson of the BU Department of Earth and Environment joined the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future as a Faculty Research Fellow in September 2014. The Pardee Center holds symposia and conducts research intended to contribute to the long-term wellbeing of people around the world. Professor Anderson will work with Pardee Center Director Anthony Janetos to understand and evaluate the social and economic impacts of climate variations and develop models to assist in navigating through these impacts. This research will identify sectors and regions that are most vulnerable, as well as provide guidance on the development of proper planning and management policies for these areas.
Professor Mark Grinstaff of the BU Department of Chemistry and Biomedical Engineering was recently awarded an National Science Foundation Career grant titled "Environmentally Friendly Microfiber Polycarbonate Meshes for Continuous Oil Retrieval” for 2014 - 2017 (est.). The Grinstaff Group will prepare and explore an environmentally friendly, biodegradable oil absorbing sponge for enhanced oil recovery after an oil spill. To do so, they will synthesize different polymer-based materials and characterize them in terms of their mechanical and oil-absorbing properties and their biodegradability.
Research performed by Earth & Environment PhD candidate Conor Gately, Associate Professor Lucy Hutyra, and Associate Professor Ian Sue Wing published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal in April 2015 was recently featured in the Scientific American. The research, titled “Cities, traffic, and CO2: A multidecadal assessment of trends, drivers, and scaling relationships” found that cities and their commuting population emit a large percentage of on-road CO2 emissions. Furthermore, a new emissions inventory was developed; the Database of Road Transportation Emissions (DARTE) estimates CO2 emitted by US road transport at a resolution of 1 km annually for 1980–2012.

The website URL where information about sustainability research is available:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.